Posted by: fvbcdm | February 27, 2012

Feast of Saint Anne Line (27 Feb 2012)

During these first days of Lent, we hear a lot in the readings of the liturgy about virtue, honesty, kindness, justice, and other moral qualities like those. Yesterday, some friends and I got to reminiscing about our sins when we were children and the ugly practices that they led us to.  For example, I can remember that before I was fifteen years old, I was small and short for my age, and was able to get into the movie theaters of New Orleans as a child under twelve.  So for several years, I lied about my age and told the ticket-seller that I was eleven, when actually I was twelve or thirteen.  I felt conscience-stricken about that, but there was quite a bit of difference between ten cents and twenty-five cents or whatever the higher rate was, and I allowed the money issue to cause me to lie and to cheat the theater for the sake of money—“filthy lucre” as Scripture calls it.


My friends recalled one day when the lady was six, and her mother was trying to smuggle her into a theater at the price of a child UNDER six.  When the ticket seller asked the mother how old the child was, the mother replied, “She’s five.”  And of course, the child, proud of her advanced age, said, “Oh no, Mama; don’t you remember? I had my birthday last month.  I’m six now!”   The mother wanted to kill the child for making a liar out of her and increasing the amount she had to pay for the little girl’s ticket.  But those were the years of the great depression, when fifteen or twenty cents was a LOT of money!


Original sin being what it is, we are infected by the love of money, the unconcern about cheating other people or businesses, and the willingness to tell lies if they will favor our position.  And despite the stories in McGuffey’s Reader about George Washington telling the truth about the chopping down of the cherry tree, or about Abraham Lincohn walking several miles to return a penny to a store-keeper who had mistakenly given him that in excess, we still did what we knew to be wrong.  Serious sins?  No, but nevertheless moral wrong-doing that left stains on our consciences and might have led to other lies and dishonesties not so small or insignificant.  When we read in the newspapers or hear on television of the enormous acts of injustice often committed by big businessmen who can get their hands on other people’s money, we might wonder how that got started, and how old those people were when they perpetrated their first offense against one of their fellow human beings.  Were they six, or seven, or ten???


Today we read at Mass the words of Our Lord, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me.”  And elsewhere in the gospel, he tells us “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Beautiful principles of morality and goodness!  These are the words that can make us saints.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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